The first part met only "modest" success at theaters after its Oct. 15 release, Aglialoro acknowledged. He blamed a tight six-month production schedule and the lack of promotion and ad budgets.
"But on Nov. 8 we released the DVD, and Fox ran a lot of 15-second ads for that, and now we're past 300,000 DVD sales. And Comcast, which is part of the In Demand L.L.C. network with Time Warner and Cox, has done very well with it, too."
The group's online marketing strategy, based on oracular snips of dialogue, drew "core" Rand fans to its website, where "we've made a couple million in merchandising revenues - coffee mugs, Dagny's bracelet," a symbol of political awakening.
Does Ayn Rand export? "We had an OK opening in Canada last November. We just yesterday locked up Russia for $100,000. We're not yet in the U.K. or Germany."
Now on to Atlas Shrugged, Part Two, "which will be going to theaters in October," Aglialoro told me.
Last month Aglialoro's group raised $16 million in a bond sale to fund the second movie, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Plus, he says, there's "$2 million coming from another investor," and Fox "has offered to match another $1 million" when the group raises a final $1 million for production. And he says a Hollywood group he won't name has agreed to invest up to $5 million in promotion and ads if they think the finished picture could be a hit. They're hiring a new cast.
He's not claiming to make the definitive Rand: "They'll be making versions without trains in 100 years."
Rand's point? "It's about the sanctity of the individual, and the right of mankind to live his own life. When that's violated, these people go on strike" for individual freedom against the idea of a common social good.
The rich, in a protest strike? "It's not just the One Percent," Aglialoro said. "It's artists. Creators. Skilled working people. This is a parable, a thinking person's novel." And a business, too.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank president Charles Plosser, a conservative economist who deprecates the national Fed's assigned job of cutting unemployment because he believes it can't effectively do more than meet its other goal of limiting inflation, told a crowd at the University of Delaware on Tuesday that he's worried Fed chief Ben Bernanke's cheap-money policy risks overstimulating the U.S. economy. Highlights:
"In January, the Federal Open Market Committee announced that economic conditions were 'likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014'. . .
"I dissented from the FOMC decisions" to keep rates near record lows "because it was not clear to me that further monetary policy accommodation was appropriate," given our falling unemployment and inflation rates.
And yet, Plosser complained, "many argue that monetary policy should do more." Those critics worry too many Americans aren't working, and the Fed should help fix that by keeping money extra cheap.
"I disagree," Plosser said. Cheap money, like a car driven too fast on a foggy highway, will likely "lead us down a very treacherous path" - maybe to another financial wreck, like the housing bubble of the mid-2000s.
Contact columnist Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194, JoeD@phillynews.com or @PhillyJoeD on Twitter.